Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Forget the Joneses—Keep Up with the Grandkids

Early in our careers we focused on climbing the corporate ladder and getting ahead in life. Now that we boomers are aging, we are in the retirement zone and concentrate on building a healthy 401k. We no longer try to keep up with the Joneses and realize life is what it is—and find ourselves comfortable with our standard of living. Now, our goal is to stay healthy and fit enough to keep up with our grandkids.

I just went to Branson with my grandkids. My daughter-in-law, Stacey, and I took three of them to Silver Dollar City on Friday. We migrated from the kiddie section where we all rode rides for the younger crowd. Now, you would think this would mean carousels, little cars, etc. But no, the rides are high-flying swings, pirate ships that zip around in circles throwing you against the person riding with you, a big ship that rocks back and forth higher and higher above the trees, a small rollercoaster and other rides that left me a little on the dizzy side.

Later, we moved toward the big rollercoasters and I watched the two little ones while Stacey and twelve-year-old granddaughter got onto a rollercoaster that rocketed off the platform before going through a series of twists and turns. Then they rode one that did a loop-de-loop letting them see the world from an up-side-down vantage point.

It seemed to me that we walked uphill all day in 100 degree heat. At one time, I was so hot that I was drenched with sweat and my skin felt like it was being pricked with a billion pinheads. By the time we left, I was exhausted and felt like the calves of legs had been in a car wreck.

The highlight of the day for me was stopping at Steak and Shake and drinking two glasses of ice water with lemon in it. Yep, it was quite a day. The only thing I can say is I kept up with the grandkids. Geeze, I don’t think the Joneses can compete at all with that feeling of accomplishment.

Copyright © August 2010 L. S. Fisher

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blame It on the Blueberries

I’ve always had a love affair with blueberries, so I bought a pint of berries at the grocery store a few days ago. Each time I opened the refrigerator, they kept screaming at me to make blueberry pancakes.

“Blueberries, I bought you because you are a super food—and I need to learn healthier habits,” I chided my little blue friends.

“We want pancakes!” they replied.

“I don’t have time,” I said.

“It’s Saturday! Of course, you have time,” they encouraged, rolling over slightly as I picked up the box, shining with tastiness.

The next thing I knew Aunt Jemima was pouring her mix into a bowl, and I couldn’t help mixing in the water. Well, once the pancake mix was ready, the next logical step was to add blueberries.

After pigging out on pancakes, I kept telling myself that at least the blueberry part of the pancake was healthy. Blueberries are full of antioxidants to help ward off all kinds of evil diseases and conditions. Heck, they can even lower cholesterol, and I could definitely make use of that.

A short Internet search later, I was a little surprised, but not shocked to find out that huckleberries are a wild version of blueberries. Cool. I always liked them too. My Grandpa Whittle used to pick buckets of the tiny blue berries.

So maybe blueberry pancakes weren’t the healthiest use of blueberries, but they were mighty tasty. It wasn’t my fault at all—the blueberries made me do it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

When Age is Just a Number

“May I sit with the popular girls?” I asked the ladies who always sit together at church. It is a big church, but most people sit near the same spot each Sunday. Unlike the church of my youth, there are no pews, just rows of chairs. I’m usually flanked by Ila and Pat on the right, and Sheila on the left.

As I left church yesterday, Ila and Pat had paused in the hobby to have a conversation. I joined them, and they were talking about how their eye problems affect their driving. In the course of the conversation, I discovered these two vibrant women are in their 80s.

I shouldn’t have been surprised because my mom is in her 80s and looks and acts more than a decade younger. I hope that I’ve inherited her “young” genes. Even more important than her youthful looks, I want her enthusiasm and positive attitude that life is all about making the most of it.

We baby boomers need to look at the women we know who demonstrate aging brings us to an important season of our lives. We do not need to dread getting older, because most likely there will be still older women to serve as role models.

“Thank you! You made my day,” Ila said when I told her she certainly didn’t look like she was in her 80s. “It means a lot coming from a young person like you.”

Gotta love it, don’t I? Someday when I’m 80, I hope to hear Ila, Pat, my mom, and other vibrant 100+ year-olds appreciate how “young” I am. If I look like any of these ladies, I’ll know it’s a sincere compliment.

Copyright © August 2010 L. S. Fisher

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Bets Off

In Missouri we have a program for problem gamblers. All they have to do is dial 1-800-BETSOFF. Judging from the number of social security wielding people at the casino, I wonder how much of a problem gambling is for them and if they can afford the losses.

I have nothing against gambling, or gaming, as it is known here, but know it can be addictive. In fact, some of the new machines are entertaining and can be a whole lot of fun, especially if you win some small consolations along the way.

I was at the casino this weekend and saw a bus pull up in front and a load of senior citizens pile out of it. One lady in a wheelchair and another leaning heavily on a cane were beating it toward the machines.

At one time, Missouri had a daily loss limit and you were only allowed so much time inside the casino. Our legislators repealed that so we could compete with other casinos in bordering states. They are known as “boats” and some actually float on the water. Most of them are not really boats at all, and I’m not sure what they have to do to qualify for “riverboat gambling.”

Will gambling fever be even more prevalent in the future as we baby boomers retire? Are we going to entertain ourselves by feeding our 401k into slot machines? I hope not. Logic tells you that casinos aren’t in the business to give you money—they plan to take in much more than they shell out. The only question we need to answer is how much is the entertainment worth to us? Once we know the answer to that we just need to say, “Hey, the bets off. I have better things to do with my money.”

Copyright © August 2010 L. S. Fisher